What do typical visualizers experience?

Hi, I’m new to this group. I recently discovered that I may have aphantasia, but it’s hard to tell because I don’t know what other people mean when they say they “see” something in their minds. I’m wondering if anyone knows how to describe this experience, for comparison. 

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Good question! Rich was curious about a similar discussion question here.

This article by hyperphantasic designer Melanie Scheer on Visualizing the Invisible is a good reference with some helpful visuals depicting the widddddde variability in our visual imagery experiences. 

We also hosted Melanie at one of our member events, you can watch the event recording here.

Our community editor and active contributor, Liana M Scott also shares reflections on VVIQ and the nuance between low and no visual imagery vividness in this article, Understanding Aphantasia.

Hope these resources help!

Sounds like there are hard core aphantasics and wannabes. The condition has only been in the public eye (no pun intended) for a few years and it looks to be going the way off gluten intolerance. 

I see nothing. I am also agoraphobic and have fear of heights. I have seen nothing about these conditions being related. Is there any research on this aspect?

If someone says picture a pink elephant at a circus I see black. Everybody’s version is different.

Hi Leanne, it’s hard to get your head around isn’t it?! I spoke to a friend who is a bird watcher and also great at languages – he explained that he can visualise a past bird-watching experience as if he were back there. He can see the trees and the bird as if he were actually back there. When he’s speaking other languages he sees words as if they were written on a computer screen and he can move letters or words around in the screen. This helps him learn and recall languages. 

I am completely the opposite. I cannot visualise anything. I cannot imagine what it would be like to “see” these things. and my friend cannot imagine what it’s like to not have the ability to visualise like this. 

I don’t think it’s hugely affected my life (I was 55 before I’d heard of aphantasia and it blew my mind to know that other people visualise) but it does help explain this for me. I have a terrible sense of direction and I would struggle describe my wife of 30+ years or my daughters. On balance I think I’ve coped well and the thought of all those extra images in my head sounds exhausting!! 

Hi Leanne. It is not difficult to know if you are aphantasic. Close your eyes. Think of the person or thing you love most in the world. If all you see is black then you are aphantasic.

Friends have told me they see like a movie or a photo. Not me. Just black.




Freinds have told me they see like a movie or a photo. Not me. Just the black.